Michelle Trachtenberg on Harriet the Spy 20 years later
It’s been 20 years since Michelle Trachtenberg made her big-screen debut starring in Harriet the Spy, Nickelodeon’s first-ever film. Since then, the 31-year-old star has gone on to earn 55 acting credits, including roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, EuroTrip, Gossip Girl, and more, but it’s her turn as the writer and elementary school spy, Harriet M. Welsch, that’s left a lasting impression. “I’m fully WGA [Writers Guild of America] and a writer and have sold several projects. I feel like [I’m living] a Hollywood version of Harriet’s life,” Trachtenberg says.
Though she can’t disclose much about her upcoming projects quite yet, Trachtenberg, who sold her first project at 23 (it was about a serial killer — “I’m so weird,” she says), hints that she’s currently putting together “a period piece that spans about a 30-year decade, starting in the ’50s. It’s a true story.” There’s also the pilot that she wrote about an “accessories editor who always wanted to be a writer.” The Brooklyn native is convinced that her notebook-obsessed alter ego would approve: “Harriet would be proud.”
Aside from her writing, Trachtenberg finds other reminders of Harriet on a daily basis. “I still have her yellow, plastic binoculars that say ‘Harriet the Spy’ on my library consul with different books and memories. I also have the original book by Louise Fitzhugh on my desk to always inspire me. My love of writing came from reading and being Harriet the Spy. Writing changes people’s worlds.”